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Aboriginal Elder's court victory is a win for the environment and the community

By EDO NSW Outreach Solicitor Emily Ryan

9 July 2015

The Land and Environment Court has confirmed that effective community consultation is fundamental to the process for making and amending local environmental plans (LEPs).

Read more

NSW Biodiversity Legislation

The new biodiversity and land clearing regime commenced on 25 August 2017, despite serious concerns about increased land clearing and weakened biodiversity offset standards.

We will continue to provide feedback on aspects of the new regime and to work with communities concerned about the new laws. We are updating our fact sheets to reflect these changes and running community education workshops. 

We also now have a report form, which you can fill in after making a report to the OEH about rural land clearing. Find the form here.

For updates on our ongoing biodiversity and native vegetation law reform and outreach work, sign up to our weekly e-bulletin.

May 2018: The political endorsement of extinction

March 2018: Land-clearing Code declared invalid but then immediately remade.

December 2017: EDO NSW submission on Draft Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy 2017-2037.

November 2017 case: Nature Conservation Council vs Minister for Primary Industries and Another

Draft regulations and instruments, June 2017

EDO NSW made submissions on each of the 13 consultation documents. You can download all submissions combined, including an executive summary, or read each component separately.

Seminar video: The next stage of biodiversity reforms: what you need to know, presentation slides and video from a community seminar held in Sydney, 1 June 2017. 

Biodiversity and land clearing laws passed in November 2016


How Can I Have My Say?

One of the most effective ways for the community to help create a sustainable future is by engaging in regulatory and decision-making processes.

How to have your say

The law can be a powerful tool for change, but it can be difficult to understand how to use the law to protect the environment. In this section, we provide information on how to engage effectively, drawing upon insider perspectives from current and former government employees, and case studies of successful community engagement. Topics covered in this section include:

 

How the system works

This section contains general information explaining how the system works - with a focus on environmental law. It covers everything from how laws are made through to decision-making processes and law enforcement. Topics covered in this section include:

 

How to gather information

An important part of having your say is being informed about the issues and the process you are engaging in. This section is dedicated to helping you access the information required for effective participation. Topics covered in this section include:

 

 

 

This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.

 

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Our clients

We provide legal advice on environment and planning law to over 1,200 community groups and individuals across NSW each year. Here's what our clients have to say about working with the EDO.

Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association – coal mine expansion in the Hunter Valley

“Determined to save our village from a coal mine expansion, the Association secured the services of the EDO NSW to prepare an appeal. This started a relationship which achieved a landmark case in the Land and Environment Court by overturning the approval.

“The residents of Bulga, with very limited experience and funding, were only able to achieve this success by the engagement of the EDO and the team of experts and advisors they assembled.” John Krey, President

Calga Peats Ridge Community Group – quarry expansion , Central Coast 

“Without the help of the EDO we would have been otherwise unable to afford access to this essential legal advice for the protection of the environment.

“In a democratic society we consider that that the EDO is an essential resource for community groups such as ours …..the work being done by the EDO is vital for the future of this country.”  Annette Wilby, Public Officer

Community workshop in Soldiers Point

"I’d like to congratulate you on a wonderful presentation. Not only have a number of participants contacted me as a direct result of the EDO workshop but they have now joined other organisations where they feel they can "have their say". It's not so scary when someone like you gives people the confidence they need to speak out about issues which are important to them.

Thank you once again for taking the trouble to make the presentation easy to listen to and to understand. All in all, you were amazing and that was the comment most often expressed." Jean, Soldiers Point Community Group Inc.

Barrington, Gloucester, Stroud Preservation Alliance – coal seam gas project, upper Hunter Valley

“We have been the beneficiaries of EDO community information and education sessions on a number of occasions and were privileged to have the EDO act on our behalf regarding the Gloucester Coal Seam Gas Project. We were particularly impressed by the standard of advice received and the commitment of all staff members to our legal action and to the EDO’s objectives.” Garry Smith, Project Officer

Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association – major residential development of historic village, south of Newcastle

Small communities such as ours do not have the knowledge or necessary resources to buy in the expertise to achieve an even playing field with well-funded, well connected and powerful developers.

“EDO NSW has provided access to justice for our community and has held decision makers to account. If people are to have confidence in the decisions made by the NSW planning system then it is vital that a totally independent EDO NSW continues to be funded so that it can continue such extraordinary work.” Suzanne Whyte, President

The Clarence Environment Centre, North Coast

“The Clarence Environment Centre has a ten year association with the Environmental Defenders Office and has found the advice and support of their dedicated staff, backed by regular newsletters and bulletins, to be invaluable.” John Edwards, Secretary

Macarthur Bushwalkers – pollution of the George’s River by BHP Billiton’s Illawarra Coal, south-west of Sydney

“It would seem that without the EDO any small group wishing to defend its local environment would be doomed to failure because it is totally impossible for community groups like the Macarthur Bushwalkers to try and compete with the huge income and fighting ability of the multinationals.” Kenneth Hall, President

Blue Mountains Conservation Society – pollution of the Cox’s River by Wallerawang power station, Central West

“The Society could not have run this case had it not been for the incredible support and assistance of the Environmental Defender’s Office. The support included both legal assistance and scientific expertise.”  Tara Cameron, Vice President

Friends of Turramurra – urban residential development, Sydney’s North Shore

“The EDO provided ongoing and timely advice on all aspects of the legal process….As a group with no experience in legal processes it was invaluable to have the EDO’s guidance…” Alan Parr, President

Koala Preservation Society of Australia, Port Macquarie – protecting koala habitat from development, Mid-North Coast

“In 2008, the Koala Preservation Society engaged EDO NSW to assist us to preserve a vital core koala breeding area that the council was intending to remove for a sports reserve.

“If the EDO had not intervened we would have failed in being able to prevent the removal of this large area of important habitat.

“Thus we support, not only the work the Environmental Defenders’ Office does, we wholeheartedly support this important office to be funded for the many and varied legal matters they are required to do.” Chayne Flanagan

Jervis Bay Regional Alliance, South Coast

“We wish to record our appreciation for the services provided by the EDO to our organisation and many others on the NSW south coast over many years.

“The relationship established between the EDO and community groups is one which strengthens the democratic process by facilitating grass-roots participation in the decision-making process at both government and private enterprise levels.” Kristina Nilsson, President

Ryde Environment Group, Sydney’s north-west

“The EDO has responded quickly to our needs as a community environment group in every way it possibly could and we feel it is vital that it continue to be able to fulfil its charter to defend the environment.” Noel Plumb, Convener

The Southern Cross Landholders Group  – water management, Central West

“The SCLG is a small group of primary producers at Forbes in the central west of NSW. We had been engaged in a dispute with a mining company and local government in our area regarding the sustainability of an underground water resource in our locality.

“As Chairman of our group I have had regular contact with the EDO and on every occasion I have felt at the end of our conversations that we had achieved some positive results for our cause and the environment in which we live.

“This service allows the ordinary citizen of NSW to feel that they can obtain sound legal expertise on environmental issues without incurring large legal costs.” Rawson Leach, Chairman


Our staff

We are a multi-disciplinary office with staff from diverse backgrounds and with a range of skills

Below you can meet our Management team, Legal team and Operations staff.

To meet our Board, click here »

Management team

David Morris
Chief Executive Officer

David Morris

David is responsible for the delivery of EDO NSW's public interest environmental legal services. He joined EDO NSW in October 2017 after four years practising public interest environmental law in the Northern Territory as Principal Lawyer and Executive Officer of EDONT.

At EDONT David had a broad environmental law practice which particularly focused on legal issues related to mining, gas, water and cultural heritage. David regularly acted for NGOs, community groups and Aboriginal traditional owners. Under David’s leadership EDONT clients achieved successful litigation outcomes in the Federal Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory and the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal. At EDONT David played a leadership role in policy and law reform advocacy and taught environment and planning law subjects at Charles Darwin University.

Prior to working at EDONT, David held various environmental law roles in private practice and with government in Victoria. David was a lawyer in the Maddocks Planning and Environment Team and a prosecutor with the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment. He has regularly appeared in courts and tribunals.

David has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from Monash University.

 

Elaine Johnson
Principal Solicitor
[Currently on leave]

Elaine Johnson

Elaine joined EDO NSW in January 2011 as a Solicitor in the Sydney office. She provides clients with advice and representation on a wide range of environmental legal issues, including administrative law, planning, pollution, biodiversity, mining and coal seam gas. Elaine has represented clients seeking better environmental outcomes through civil enforcement, such as the Delta and Macarthur Bushwalkers water pollution cases. She acted for Fullerton Cove residents in obtaining the first coal seam gas injunction in NSW and helped gain better environmental conditions for a coal mine in the Ashton merits appeal. Elaine also represented the Mackay Conservation Group in successfully overturning Federal approval of Australia’s largest coal mine, the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.

Elaine holds a Bachelor of EnvMgmt/LLB (Hons) from Macquarie University and has worked as Associate Lecturer with Macquarie’s Centre for Environmental Law. Her other previous work includes as a solicitor in private practice at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, in government at the Office of Environment and Heritage and as the Environment Liaison Officer for combined environment groups.

Elaine also spent 18 months volunteering with the Landowners’ Advocacy and Legal Support Unit at the Public Solicitor’s Office in the Solomon Islands.

 

Brendan Dobbie
Acting Principal Solicitor

Brendan Dobbie

Brendan joined EDO NSW in August 2015 as a Solicitor in the litigation team. Brendan provides clients with legal advice in relation to all aspects of state and federal environment and planning law and conducts environmental litigation, primarily within the Land and Environment Court of NSW. From September 2018, Brendan is Acting Principal Solicitor.

Before taking up his current role, Brendan worked as a solicitor in the Planning & Environment group at Clayton Utz in Sydney.

Brendan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Law (BA Comms/LLB) from the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Masters of Environmental Governance (MSc) from the University of Freiburg, Germany. He has also commenced PhD studies with the University of Freiburg looking at illegal logging policy in South East Asia.

Brendan is a founding member of the award-winning sustainability science communication group, the Freiburg Scientific Theatre. He is also a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law.

 

Rachel Walmsley
Policy and Law Reform Director

Rachel Walmsley

Rachel Walmsley is the Policy and Law Reform Director at EDO NSW. She has over 15 years experience working on public interest environmental law and policy in Australia and overseas. She has written extensive law reform submissions and discussion papers and advised governments and NGOs on a range of environmental law issues, including planning, natural resource management and biodiversity laws.

Rachel is a member of the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL) and a member of IUCN – World Commission on Environmental Law. Rachel is also a member of a number of government and non-government advisory committees on biodiversity, natural resource and environment issues, a legal advisor to the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, and guest lectures in environmental law.

Rachel's previous work has included advising the peak environment groups of NSW on environmental legislation before the NSW parliament, undertaking research for the Australian Centre for Environmental Law (ACEL) at ANU in Canberra, and conservation field work for a British conservation organisation in Tanzania and the UK. Rachel has also been a Co-Consulting Editor of the Australian Environment Review and Chair of the Australian Committee for IUCN.

Rachel is a practising solicitor, with a Masters in Environmental Science and Law from University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Laws with Honours in international biodiversity law and a Bachelor of Arts from ANU.

 

Megan Kessler
Scientific Director

Megan joined EDO NSW in August 2011. Her role involves management of EDO NSW’s Scientific Advisory Service, including the provision of in-house objective scientific advice to EDO NSW staff and our clients and using our Expert Register to source external scientific expertise for public interest legal matters.

Megan has a Bachelor of Science (natural resource management) from Macquarie University, a Master of Marine Science (fisheries management) from UNSW and a PhD on tourism impacts on humpback whales off Sydney and in Tonga from Macquarie University.

Megan has previously worked with Landcare Australia and on marine and fisheries issues, energy conservation and threatened species management.

 

Jemilah Hallinan
Outreach Director 

Jemilah Hallinan

Jemilah joined EDO NSW in 2006. As Outreach Director she is responsible for the development and delivery of the EDO NSW Outreach Program, which encompasses both community and professional programs. Community programs include legal workshops, seminars, conferences and a range of plain English publications designed to educate the public about environmental laws and how they can be used to protect the environment. Professional programs include the development and delivery of legal and educational resources for environmental decision-makers, lawyers and other professionals.

Jemilah provides legal advice to the community on a wide range of planning and environmental law problems and has written extensively on topics such as planning, mining and private conservation. She also lectures in planning and environmental law at several universities in Sydney.

Jemilah is admitted as a solicitor in NSW. She has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) from the University of Western Sydney.

 

Blake Powell
Operations Director

Blake Powell

Blake joined EDO NSW in April 2016. As Operations Director, she is responsible for the effective management of the operational aspects of the organisation, including governance, financial management, compliance, administration, human resources and provision of information and support to the CEO and Board.

Prior to working with EDO NSW, Blake was Business Operations Manager for Migration Support Programs, NSW, at Australian Red Cross. She also worked with PYXERA Global managing multi-million dollar international programs in Guatemala, Jamaica and Angola on supply chain development and the reinvestment of profits from natural resource extraction into community and local economic development.

Blake holds an MA in International Service and Development from Roehampton University, UK, and an MA in Theoretical Linguistics from Northwestern University, USA.

 

Legal team

Dr Emma Carmody
Senior Policy and Law Reform Solicitor
[Currently on leave]

Emma Carmody

Emma joined the law reform team in 2011 after several years working as an in-house lawyer and consultant for various government departments. Her work for EDO NSW includes the provision of legal advice, writing submissions, responding to government inquiries and appearing before parliamentary committees.

She has broad experience advising on all aspects of environment and planning law, as well as particular expertise in water law and policy. As a result, she is frequently called on to advise landholders and community groups across the Murray-Darling Basin, as well as peak conservation and scientific organisations, about State and Commonwealth water laws. She also acts as special advisor for water-related litigation. 

Emma regularly publishes book chapters and journal articles in both English and French on various aspects of water law and policy. Her articles are frequently included on reading lists at some of Australia’s top law schools, where she also guest lectures on water law. 

In parallel to her work at EDO NSW, Emma serves as legal advisor to the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Switzerland. She is also a member of the policy group within the Alliance for Global Water Adaption and a fellow of the Peter Cullen Trust, having completed their Science to Policy Leadership Program in 2013.

Emma studied Arts/Law at the University of NSW, where she was awarded the Stephen Seidler Memorial Prize for the Best Achievement in Environmental Law. Her other qualifications include a doctorate in Creative Writing (English/French) awarded by the University of Adelaide. She was admitted as a solicitor in 2003.

 

Julia Grix 
Citizen Representation Program

Julia is the Senior Solicitor responsible for the development and delivery of our Citizen Representation Program (CRP). The CRP provides specialist legal advice and information about the laws that regulate protest activities concerning the environment. In addition, the CRP provides legal representation to those who have been charged with criminal offences arising from their participation in such activities.

Julia is an award-winning legal practitioner and researcher with more than 20 years experience working for criminal law and social justice related academic, government and community-based legal organisations. She joined EDO NSW in April 2019. Prior to that, she worked as a legal practitioner with Legal Aid NSW for many years, where she represented adults and children in every criminal jurisdiction in NSW.

Julia has worked internationally, as a Fulbright Scholar, with the New York Legal Aid Society. She has held a variety of senior roles contributing to the law reform and policy work of Legal Aid NSW and other organisations, including the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT. Julia is a published author and major contributor to several publications, including Current Issues in Criminal Justice and the Indigenous Law Bulletin. Prior to her admission, she conducted legal research in the areas of criminal law and human rights, including for the Institute of Criminology, the then Criminal Law Review Division of the NSW Attorney-General’s Department and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

 

Rana Koroglu
Senior Solicitor

Rana Koroglu

Rana is part of EDO NSW’s litigation team working on environmental, administrative and other civil enforcement proceedings, in both Federal and State jurisdictions. She also provides legal advice and representation to groups and individuals seeking to protect their local communities, water sources and biodiversity from the impacts of coal mining and coal seam gas development.
 
Rana joined the EDOs of Australia in October 2013 as an advice and law reform solicitor at EDO Qld, specialising in legislative protection of the Great Barrier Reef. Prior to joining EDO Qld, Rana practised as a solicitor in native title, as well as in private practice in corporate and commercial litigation. Rana holds degrees in Laws (Honours, QUT) and Arts (UQ).
 
Rana is a Fellow of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership.

 

BJ Kim
International Program Manager

BJ Kim

BJ is the International Program Manager at EDO NSW, responsible for developing and delivering our International Program. The Program is focused on building the capacity of public interest environmental law organisations and lawyers across the Asia-Pacific. This involves providing partner organisations with training, technical advice and support (in the areas of litigation, policy and law reform, outreach, governance and scientific advice) and links to regional and international environmental networks.

BJ graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University and is admitted as a lawyer in NSW.

Before taking up his International Program role, BJ was a Solicitor with EDO NSW’s litigation team for two years, worked in corporate practice and was also an adviser on an AusAID-funded project in the Attorney-General's Department in Papua New Guinea.

 

Matt Floro
Solicitor 

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Matt joined EDO NSW in April 2018 and is a member of the litigation team. He advises individuals and community groups on state and federal environment, planning and climate change law and conducts public interest environmental litigation in several jurisdictions.

Matt has practised environmental and planning law in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. He has worked in both the public and private sectors, including as a legal adviser in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet and as a lawyer in the environment and planning teams of Clayton Utz and Corrs Chambers Westgarth. He teaches at various law schools in Sydney, including the University of New South Wales, and serves as a Board Director of the National Environmental Law Association. 

Matt holds undergraduate degrees in Law and Economics and a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Queensland. He also has a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University. He is currently undertaking a Master of Public Administration at Griffith University and a specialist LLM in Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law at the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in Portland USA.

 

 

Cecilia Fonseca
International Program Officer 

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Cecilia joined the EDO NSW staff in March 2018 as a paralegal in the International Program. Now as the International program Officer, she undertakes a combination of program management, administration, legal and legal capacity development work, assisting our partners with projects which aim to enhance access to justice in the Pacific and to help Pacific peoples’ voices be heard on environmental issues.

Admitted as a lawyer in Australia in March 2018, Cecilia completed her first degree and a Masters in Law at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She also holds a Master of Legal Studies from UTS and was awarded the 2017 Blackstone Waterhouse Lawyers Prize for best performing student in environmental law.

Before moving to Australia, Cecilia worked as a lecturer and coordinator of a Law degree in Mozambique. She also authored articles and tutored a small course which dealt with the regulation of gender in different systems of law. This personal interest is particularly focused on writing about the relationship between land rights and women as guardians of biodiversity. Cecilia is a founding member of the Diverse Women in Law group based in Sydney.

 

Gabrielle Ho
Policy and Law Reform Solicitor

Gaby Ho

Gaby joined EDO NSW in September 2018 as a Policy and Law Reform Solicitor. She advises clients on many aspects of environment and planning law, including biodiversity and natural resource management.

Gaby has a Bachelor of Science (Resource and Environmental Management)/Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University. Prior to joining EDO NSW, she worked and volunteered at various legal and environmental organisations within the community sector. She has previously served on the management committee of EDO ACT.

 

Cerin Loane
Senior Policy and Law Reform Solicitor 

Cerin Loane

Cerin joined EDO NSW in January 2019 as a Senior Solicitor in the policy and law reform team. Her work includes writing law reform proposals, engaging with government on draft policy and legislation and providing legal advice to EDO clients on a range of environmental issues, including biodiversity conservation, environment and planning and natural resource management.

Previously, Cerin worked as an in-house lawyer for government, for a non-profit human rights organisation in Mongolia and, most recently, as policy and research coordinator with the NSW Nature Conservation Council.

Cerin holds a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) and Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Wollongong and was admitted as a solicitor in 2004.

 

Emily Long
Solicitor 

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Emily joined EDO NSW in February 2016 as a solicitor in the litigation team. She provides legal advice to individuals and groups on a wide range of environmental law matters, including planning, pollution, mining and coal seam gas and administrative law. Emily has also worked in our International Program, contributing to policy papers regarding marine law reform in the Pacific.

Emily holds an LLB (Hons)/Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne. She is currently undertaking a Master of Environmental Laws at the University of Sydney.

Prior to joining EDO NSW, Emily worked in a range of legal roles in commercial law and the community sector. Emily also spent 12 months volunteering as a Legal Advisor with the Landowners’ Advocacy and Legal Support Unit at the Public Solicitor’s Office in the Solomon Islands.

 

Fleur Ramsay
Senior Solicitor - International Program

Fleur Ramsay

Fleur Ramsay is the senior solicitor for the International Program at EDO NSW. The Program is focused on building the capacity of public interest environmental law organisations and lawyers across the Asia-Pacific as well as on international law, international environmental law and the human rights of indigenous peoples in the Asia-Pacific. 

Fleur graduated with a BA and LLB from Macquarie University and has a LLM from the University of Glasgow, where she studied international environmental law and sustainability and global justice. She also has a certificate in Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitaingi Law from the University of Auckland.   

Prior to joining EDO NSW in January 2019, Fleur was a visiting international attorney for a year (2016-2017) in the international group at Earthjustice, a Barrister practicing on Tenth Floor Chambers Selborne/Wentworth in Sydney from 2010 to 2016 and a solicitor in the Environmental Group at Allens/Linklaters. In 2015 she was a consultant and undertook capacity training for lawyers with the Samoan Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.    

Fleur is currently a PhD candidate at UNSW and teaches at UNSW and University of Sydney Law Schools.

As well as bringing extensive experience as a litigator and in environmental law, Fleur is Samoan and brings a personal understanding of some of the challenges in the Pacific.  

 

Belinda Rayment
Outreach Solicitor

Belinda Rayment

Belinda joined EDO NSW in 2011 as a Solicitor in the litigation team, where she represented community groups in public interest environmental law cases, in both federal and State jurisdictions. She is now an Outreach Solicitor working across the Community and Professional programs.

Belinda provides clients with advice on a wide range of environmental legal issues, including planning, pollution, administrative law, mining and coal seam gas. 

Belinda holds an LLB (Hons) from University of New England and a Masters in International Environmental Law from Macquarie University. Belinda previously worked in a private practice specialising in local government and planning law and as Associate to Justice Talbot of the Land and Environment Court. She has also worked as a volunteer solicitor at Kingsford Legal Centre. 

Belinda’s main area of interest is climate change law, particularly mitigation of sea level rise and carbon pricing.

Belinda is currently on the Management Committee of the Total Environment Centre.

 

Isaac St Clair-Burns
Solicitor

IsaacStClairBurns

Isaac joined EDO NSW in September 2018 as a solicitor in its litigation team. Prior to this he worked with the EDO of Western Australia, advising clients on environment, planning, mining, heritage and administrative law.

Isaac has held roles as Vice President of the WA committee of the National Environmental Law Association and Chair of its law reform subcommittee. He is an enthusiastic member of the Piddington Society. Isaac also worked with one of WA’s largest heritage consulting companies and, in a past life, as an IT consultant for a boutique information communication and telecommunication company.

Isaac holds a Bachelor in Laws from Murdoch University (Honours) and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University.

 

Natalie Vella
Senior Solicitor

Natalie Vella

Natalie joined EDO NSW in September 2018 as a senior solicitor in the litigation team. She provides clients with legal advice in relation to all aspects of state and federal environment and planning law. 

Prior to joining EDO NSW, Natalie worked as an arbitration lawyer in Singapore and as a solicitor in the Sydney Resources group of Ashurst Australia. She has also worked as the research associate to the Hon Justice PM Biscoe of the NSW Land and Environment Court and as an environmental consultant in corporate practice.

Natalie completed a Bachelor of Science (Advanced)/Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney and was admitted as a solicitor in NSW in 2008. 

 

Nadja Zimmermann
Solicitor

NadjaZimmermann

Nadja joined EDO NSW in September 2018 as a solicitor in the litigation team. She advises and represents clients in a broad range of environmental and planning law matters.

Nadja previously worked as graduate and solicitor at Slater and Gordon in Melbourne, in commercial litigation. She has experience as a plaintiff lawyer in commercial law representing individuals against large corporations and in administrative and tort law, including negligence and nuisance.

Nadja was admitted to legal practice in 2018 and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne.

Communications and Fundraising team

Susan Ardill
Communications 

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Susan joined EDO NSW in September 2017. She has over 30 years experience as a writer/editor and in journalism, having worked in magazines (New Statesman, Spare Rib), television (Channel 4, Film Australia) and online (ninemsn). She has also worked in communications for non-profits such as Positive Life NSW and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association.

Susan looks after the EDO NSW website, social media and weekly eBulletin.

Susan holds a Masters in Mass Communications from the Centre for Mass Communication Research at Leicester University, England, and Honours in Australian Literature from Sydney University.

 

Daria O'Neill
Fundraising Manager 

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Daria joined EDO NSW in April 2017.

With over 25 years experience in fundraising, marketing and relationship management, Daria has worked for a range of not-for-profit organisations (including Medecins Sans Frontieres, Oxfam, Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society and in the Arts), building capacity, developing business, public affairs and communications strategies and raising millions of dollars to help make the world a kinder, healthier, safer and better place for people, plants and animals.

Daria holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney.

 

Amber Sprunt 
Philanthropy Manager 

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Amber joined EDO NSW in August 2017.

Amber has worked in Marketing for 19 years, in both professional and academic roles. She has dedicated the last 11 years to environmental protection and social marketing in large and small organisations, developing and implementing successful growth strategies for sustainable and diverse income streams and building teams to achieve it. Amber also works as an independent marketing consultant.

Amber holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (Honours) from Swinburne University in Victoria. Her research thesis investigated the likelihood of entrepreneurs and SMEs engaging in voluntary water saving behaviour.

 

Roma Harvey 
Fundraising Administration Officer 

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Roma joined EDO in March 2019 to support the growth of fundraising activities within the organisation.

She has experience in fundraising, events, administration and community engagement programs within the for-purpose sector. 

Roma holds a Masters of International Development from UNSW.

 

Operations team

Eamon Fraser-Crooks 
Data & IT Administrator

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Eamon joined EDO NSW in 2016 as part of the administration team. Prior to working at the EDO, he held a variety of administration and customer service roles.

Eamon is currently studying an LLB/Bachelor of Environmental Management at Macquarie University and hopes to practice as a solicitor in environmental law after completing his studies. 

 

 

 

Georgie Murch
Legal Administrator 

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Georgie joined EDO NSW in October 2018. Her role is to provide additional support to the litigation team.

Georgie has experience in administrative roles in media and the not-for profit sector, including Justice Connect.

Georgie has studied Environmental Humanities at UNSW and is now studying for a Bachelor of Social Work.

 

Kirsty Jordan 
Administration

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Kirsty has been with EDO NSW since 2012. She has extensive administrative experience, working in the university and community sector since 1993. Kirsty is the ASU workplace delegate. She has a BA (Theatre) from Western Sydney University.




Access to Justice

EDO NSW has produced a number of resources and undertakes law reform work on access to justice. You can read our submissions, discussion papers and briefing notes below.

EDO NSW represents individuals and community groups in public interest litigation to protect the environment. Read about our past cases.

Our Fact Sheets on this topic include public participation, access to information and speaking out in public.

Learn how to Have Your Say.

Merits report coverMerits Review in Planning in NSW
June 2016

This EDO NSW special report responds to community concerns about the loss of their right to appeal approvals of large resource extraction projects. The report demonstrates that merits review is an essential part of a well-functioning planning system, and shows that there are clear benefits to allowing third party merits review for major projects in NSW.

Read more »


Expert Register

The Expert Register is a list of people with scientific and technical expertise who are willing to assist EDO NSW on public interest environmental matters on a pro bono basis (for no fee as a public service) or in limited cases, for a reduced fee

The Expert Register is a vital part of our Scientific Advisory Service. A key aim of the Service is to increase the public's capacity to participate effectively in the environmental planning and development assessment process.

Our in-house environmental scientists often rely on advice from the Expert Register in advising clients, in analysing government policy, in making decisions on whether to take a matter to Court, and in our community education work.

The Expert Register includes academics, government scientists, consultants, and PhD students in a range of scientific and technical fields, including planning, ecology, hydrology, water, air, noise and soil pollution, engineering, public heath, and economics.

The Expert Register is open to experts in all States and Territories, although most referrals to the register will involve matters in NSW. If you are an expert from outside NSW, you should also contact your local EDO office to see if you can get involved in local public interest matters.

Joining the Expert Register

EDO NSW is always interested in hearing from scientific and technical experts interested in joining the Expert Register. We are also seeking to develop relationships with research organizations and environmental consultancies interested in doing pro-bono work.

If you would like to join the Expert Register, please download and complete the application form and email to edonsw@edonsw.org.au or fax to (61 2) 9264 2414.

Please attach a copy of your CV to the application form.

Your role and obligations

The role of the Expert Register is to provide EDO NSW and our clients with objective scientific and technical advice. We inform our clients of this role. If we think that on the basis of your advice our client no longer has a valid case, we will notify our client of this, and may stop acting for them.

You are under no obligation to assist us in a matter. We will contact you if we think you can assist us. Once you know the details of the matter, you are free to decline to assist. We understand that you are busy or may have conflicts of interest in a matter.

You are free to stand down from the Expert Register at any time.

The amount of work involved

You will generally only be asked to assist on a matter once or twice a year or less and each request would typically require a few hours or less of your time. A key aim of the Expert Register is the fair and equitable distribution of public interest matters among scientific and technical experts.

The type of work involved

You may be asked to provide oral advice, written advice, or provide a written review of a document or part of a document. You may also be asked to provide expert evidence in Court, if you choose.

You will not be asked to assist with trivial matters or matters outside your area of expertise. All matters are screened by the in-house environmental scientists to ensure that you assist only on public interest matters of genuine merit.

The type of work you may be asked to assist with includes:

  • Pre-decision work - advice on proposed developments or actions prior to an approval decision being made. This mainly involves advice on the impacts of developments and the adequacy of environmental impact assessments and assisting clients prepare submissions to decision-makers.
  • Compliance and monitoring work - advice on approved developments or actions. This mainly involves advice on the compliance of developments and actions with conditions of approval or regulatory requirements and assistance to clients in making submissions to regulatory authorities.
  • Policy and law reform work - contributions to our policy and law reform work by undertaking research and providing advice on the scientific aspects of government policy proposals and our priority law reform areas.
  • Community legal education work - contributions to our community legal education work by presenting at seminars and workshops, contributing to plain-English guides, and preparing fact sheets on scientific issues.
  • Expert evidence in Court, if you choose.

You do not have to appear in Court as an expert witness if you do not wish to. When joining the Expert Register, you can indicate your willingness to appear in Court. Most matters referred to an expert will not end up in Court.

How your work will be used

Your advice will normally be used as part of a letter of advice to a client, as part of a submission made directly to a decision-maker or regulatory authority, or to assist us to consider whether to take a matter to Court. The circumstances in which your work is proposed to be used will always be discussed with you. You may provide your advice anonymously if you wish.

Fees for your work

Most of our clients do not have enough money to pay for expert advice. We ask members of the register to assist on a pro bono, no fee basis. Limited funding may occasionally be available, but should not be expected. For expert witness work, we normally have funding available to pay experts on a reduced fee basis.

Benefits of joining

The benefits of joining the Expert Register include:

For individuals:

  • Opportunities to keep abreast of developments in environmental law and policy through:
  • Free admission to EDO NSW seminars and environmental law workshops.
  • Subscription to EDO NSW's weekly e-Bulletin.
  • Opportunities to apply your knowledge and skills in the public interest and to help people with limited access to scientific expertise.
  • Opportunities to engage in environmental policy and law reform work and community education work.
  • Opportunities to be involved in international work through our international program.
  • Opportunities to network with other scientific and technical experts and members of the legal profession.

For companies:

  • Positive public exposure for your company, if you want it.
  • The opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to good corporate citizenship and high standards in environmental planning and assessment.
  • The ability to provide public interest opportunities to staff not normally available in most organizations, which may help to attract and retain staff.

For more information on the Expert Register, please contact Megan Kessler, Scientific Director, on (61 2) 9262 6989 or at edonsw@edonsw.org.au.

Other frequently asked questions

Who is EDO NSW?

We are a non-profit, non-government community legal centre which provides legal advice and representation to individuals and community groups working to protect the environment.

Who does EDO NSW represent?

We represent individuals, community groups, and organisations. The following criteria are used when deciding whether to represent someone:

  • The matter involves a public interest environmental issue, and
  • The matter involves a real threat to the environment, and
  • EDO NSW has the resources to properly advise on the matter; and
  • If the matter involves a significant private interest, the financial means of the applicant are considered.

Is the Expert Register publicly available?

The names of people on the Expert Register are not made publicly available. We will only disclose your name or organisation's name to our client with your prior agreement. You are always able to provide your advice anonymously if you wish.

Will your work be taken out of context or your name used in campaigns?

The in-house environmental scientists will ensure that your advice is not used inappropriately. EDO NSW will never change the substance of your advice. We are not a conservation group and do not run campaigns. The circumstances in which your work is proposed to be used will always be discussed with you.

Who can join the Expert Register?

We aim to tailor the Expert Register to the specific needs of EDO NSW and our clients, and as such, it is not open to all who apply. As a guide, we seek people with 10 years practical experience or more or with knowledge in a specialist area that is relevant to the work that we do.

  • The decision on whether to admit a person to the Expert Register is made by the Scientific Director, who may also consult with the Chief Executive Officer and/or the Technical Advisory Panel. In making the decision, the following will be considered:
  • The relevance of your expertise to the work that EDO NSW does and EDO NSW's priority areas.
  • Whether your area of expertise intersects with environmental issues that are likely to involve a real threat to the environment.
  • The number of years of experience you have and where and how you gained your experience.
  • The extent to which your area of expertise is already covered by other members of the Expert Register.
  • Your standing in the scientific community.

We reserve the right to ask you to stand down from the Expert Register. 

Apply to be on the Expert Register.